Radio Sandwell News

Greece needs bridge loan, not bailout - PM Tsipras

2015-02-08 20:56:33

Alexis Tsipras
Alexis Tsipras said Greece wanted to service its debt - but couldn't

Greece cannot service its huge debt and will seek a bridge loan rather than an extension of its bailout, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said.

In an address to parliament, he also promised measures to cut bureaucratic spending and said his government would stick to all its pre-election pledges.

Mr Tsipras's far-left Syriza party won elections last month on a promise to end austerity measures.

EU officials have rejected his efforts to renegotiate Greece's bailout terms.

"The bailout failed," Mr Tsipras said told parliament on Sunday. "The new government is not justified in asking for an extension ... because it cannot ask for an extension of mistakes."

He said that Greece wanted to service its debt. "If our peers want so too, they are invited to come to the table of dialogue so we can discuss how to make it viable," he added.

Greece's current programme of loans ends on 28 February. A final €7.2bn (£5.4) is still to be negotiated, but the new government does not want to extend the programme and has already begun to roll back austerity measures.

Greek debt stands at more than €320bn, or about 174% of Greece's economic output.

'Humanitarian crisis'

In last month's elections Syriza fell just short of an outright majority and formed a coalition government with the centre-right Independent Greeks.

On Sunday, Mr Tsipras said the government's "irreversible decision is to implement in full our pre-elections pledges".

The first priority, he said, was "tackling the big wounds of the bailout, tackling the humanitarian crisis".

That includes giving free food and electricity to those worst affected by the economic crisis, and ending an unpopular annual levy on private property.

Among other commitments outlined on Sunday were

  • a gradual rise in the minimum wage to €751 by 2016
  • reinstatement of public sector employees "fired illegally"
  • the creation of a new national broadcaster.

A number of measures aimed at cutting costs or raising revenue were also announced, including

  • a new tax on large properties
  • a special portfolio to oversee fight against corruption and tax evasion
  • a pension fund using revenues from natural resources
  • cutting ministry cars and government aeroplanes.

The Greek Prime Minister also repeated demands that Germany pay reparations for World War Two and repay a loan that the Nazis forced the Bank of Greece to pay when they occupied Greece.

Greece had "a moral obligation to our people, to history, to all European peoples who fought and gave their blood against Nazism," he said.

Greek Debt Stats


Share this story

Related Stories

News around the web

DR Congo: Kidnapped Britons released

Britons held in DR Congo freed

Student groups with a million members back call for second Brexit referendum

Brexit: UK government to host summit on why other countries should join the EU

Metropolitan Police's facial recognition technology 98% inaccurate, figures show

Missing Joe Tilley found dead in Colombia

Russian embassy in Paris requests info from France on knife attacker's nationality

Nearly half a million 'hidden' young people left without state help to survive and find work, ministers warned

Crystal meth found at Home Office headquarters as Sajid Javid boasts about sniffer dogs' prowess

Theresa May faces deadlock over Brexit customs rules, after senior politicians attack both proposed options

Image Slider